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Economics and business in Kosovo

According to countryaah, Kosovo's gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 55.2 per cent in the period 2007–2017. Yet GDP per capita is only US $ 10 900 (2017). Of European countries, only Moldova has lower per capita GDP. Unemployment in Kosovo is 30.5 per cent, and is particularly high in the 18 to 25 age group, where it is almost 60 per cent. 17.6 per cent of the population lives below the poverty line.

Business and Economy of Kosovo

Historical background

The devastation after the Kosovo war in 1998–1999 was extensive. Since Kosovo gained independence in 2008, the government has relied on a market-based economy and maintaining macroeconomic stability. There has been extensive reconstruction of the country with the support of the international community. International aid accounts for about ten percent of GDP, while annual private transfers from Kosovo citizens living abroad, especially in Germany, Switzerland and the Nordic countries, amount to about 17 percent of GDP (2017).

Agriculture

Agriculture contributes 11.9 per cent of GDP and employs 4.4 per cent of the working population. The agricultural area is very fertile, but production is to a small extent mechanized. The main products from the primary industries are: Wheat, maize, berries, vegetables, pepper, fruit, tobacco, milk and fish, as well as livestock.

Mining and energy

The extraction of lignite, lead, zinc, magnesium, nickel, aluminum and chromium is characterized by old production equipment and a lack of investment.

There are two coal power plants; one from the early 1960s and one from the early 1980s. Electricity production is 5.638 billion kWh. 97 per cent of production is based on fossil fuels, while three per cent is from hydropower (2016).

Kosovo has 12.5 billion tonnes of lignite reserves. In May 2019, it was announced that General Electric Company will build a new 500 megawatt coal plant. When this power plant is in operation, the country will be able to export electrical power.

Industry

Industry contributes 17.7 per cent of the country's GDP and employs 17.4 per cent of the working population. The industry includes mining, food, metal and textile industries, as well as the manufacture of leather, machinery and equipment.

Tourism

The number of foreign tourists visiting Kosovo increased from over 162,000 in 2017 to over 190,000 in 2018. Most tourists come from Albania, Germany and Turkey. The cities of Pristina and Prizren are the most visited places.

Transport and Communications

The communication network is generally poorly developed. The total road network is at 2012 kilometers. 1971 kilometers of roads have a fixed tire, of which 78 kilometers are highways. The rail network is at 333 kilometers. There is an international airport at Pristina.

Foreign Trade

Kosovo's exports amounted to USD 428 million in 2017, while imports amounted to USD 3223 million. With this, the country had a deficit in the foreign trade balance of USD 2738 million.

The five main export markets are:

  • Albania(16.0 percent)
  • India(14.0 percent)
  • Northern Macedonia(12.1 percent)
  • Switzerland(5.6 percent)
  • Germany(5.4 percent)

The main export products are metals, leather products, machines, foodstuffs, tobacco, vegetables and textiles.

The five main import markets are:

  • Germany(12.4 percent)
  • Serbia(12.3 percent)
  • Turkey(9.6 percent)
  • China(9.1 percent)
  • Italy(6.4 percent)

The main import goods are food, wood, petroleum, chemicals, machinery, minerals, textiles and electrical equipment.

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